Tag: George Allen
There really wasn't much in the way of genuine politics going on. It was more of an alumni meeting than a political rally; more of a gathering of cronies practicing the Virginia Way interrupted a couple of times by a couple of hecklers. It seems that the last few seasons of rowdies have driven away the attendees who used to come show some civil revelry on behalf of their candidates. And now, with no one in any race to rally around, the most demonstrative types stayed home; and that would leave a big hole in what had become this Ruritan charity event attendance.
Additionally the candidates themselves, apparently led by the Republicans, declared a tacit truce on the sign war; they realized surrender was the better part of valor in that battle. There were a few signs along the road, but not the plastering to which we've become accustomed; maybe a dozen on 460 coming in from Richmond.
And then there was that road. We've discussed here the slow strangling that the McDonnell administration orchestrated during his four years in office in the name of balancing the budget. Well, now it is manifest here. What has been a well-maintained macadam rural route has deteriorated. In fact, the last half mile or more to the event parking area entrance and everything beyond is now feathered with gravel to cover the potholes. It really is symbolic of the treatment of Virginia's infrastructure, from schools and social programs to health care and public safety; not to mention the fraud perpetrated on the Virginia Retirement System when McDonnell announced that the unfunded obligations had been resolved.
There is more to discuss about what was less and that will come in a subsequent post. But if this level of enthusiasm is any indication of the turnout for this fall's election, the margin will come down to the grassroots get-out-the-vote effort. Problem is, for both sides, yesterday showed the grassroots really haven't been fertilized.
Napoleon used his Corporal as a sounding board for his orders. If the man could understand what was conveyed, Napoleon assumed it interpretable by his subordinate commanders. George Allen, in his charade as a Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar, is rolled out to deliver Madison Avenue tested bromides. In front of his paying audiences (asking price: $20,000 per appearance), there is little threat he might be called out and even less chance he'll address any objection that his arguments are flawed.
But on the campaign trail he leaves a record of his disregard for fact. No matter the amount of rote drill he is given, he cannot escape evidence that discounts his arguments without a practiced duck and weave. "See me afterwards and let's talk," is his routine way of setting aside any question that doesn't conform to dogma.
At a spring appearance during the Republican primary campaign for his old Senate seat, one of the economic prescriptions featured today in the Richmond Times Dispatch rundown of the Allen plan was challenged. Allen wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
Allen's primary argument then was that the rest of the world has a rate in the area of 20 percent and we had to be competitive. A CPA in the audience, who was clearly a frustrated Allen supporter, pointed out that the last time this was tried, when Reagan reduced the rate from 50 to 35 percent, the rest of the world taxed at around 35 percent and responded to our reduction by dropping rates to the now prevalent 20 percent. Allen could have learned a lesson about markets if he'd listened or had the requisite intellect. Instead he put off the man with his standard and his handlers re-crafted the message. Now he uses hiring and investment as the rationalization despite the fact taxes don't really factor into those decisions. There really isn't a high bar for a Reagan Presidential Scholar.
The tea leaves from the polls give a very murky outlook. Republicans told us weeks ago that the polls are unreliable and biased. They were certainly not giving the news that they wanted to hear. For a while they were apoplectic; then curled up in the fetal position. When the polls swung their way, they suddenly became prophetic. But the truth is we (except maybe Nate Silver) won't know what they mean until midnight Tuesday.
The benefit of the ad deluge right now is nearly zero compared to ads run in June or July. Dr. Quentin Kidd (Christopher Newport University) suggests that was factored into the strategy of the Obama campaign. The campaign had ads up at that point in all the swing states because they wanted to set the stage early. Everyone knew that by fall the ads would be ubiquitous to the point of being indistinguishable. This strategy may prove the difference in this race.
In a conversation with Cathy Lewis on WHRV last week, Kidd concurred with the view that we have reached the point of political ad saturation. But, he said, we are in an arms race from which no campaign can pull back without demonstrating some sort of weakness; suggesting maybe the financial support has gone (see George Allen's contribution to himself). And just today a very expensive 20 page, glossy, Obama mailer arrived from OFA.
"It's not that I'm leaving the Republican Party; it's that the Republican Party left me ... me and many other moderates," Gordon said in his announcement. "It aspired to be a big-tent party; but now it is dominated and exclusive to the tea party and folks with a very conservative social agenda." - Richmond Times Dispatch
So while the Republicans have been pandering to the know-nothing wing for two decades, they have driven those broader minded, more representative of the American electorate, to the curb. Concurrently they have touted a "big tent" welcome mat in an effort to attract a broader base of, well, non-whites. But is it sincere? After expressing frustration that more minorities have not joined the cause during a Virginia Beach appearance last spring, George Allen brushed off an African American member of the audience who commented that he might be able to explain how to help. Allen simply deflected the offer by telling him that he was interested; "see me afterwards..." Not interested or competent enough to share an unscripted conversation publicly. No, that's way too dangerous terrain for George. And there is nothing to demonstrate that Allen or many other Republicans are interested in anything but the votes.